Malavika’s Mumbaistan: Poetic justice

mumbai Updated: Jul 18, 2018 15:36 IST
Malavika Sangghvi
Malavika Sangghvi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Malavika’s Mumbaistan,Malavika Sangghvi

Sushma Jain with one of her canvases of wild life.

For those who know her, Sushma Jain, wife of businessman Anand Jain, has always been the quintessential ‘woman behind the successful man’ kind of lady: self-effacing, family-oriented, single-handedly managing the household, the children, the extended family relationships and social expectations, while her husband (widely believed to be Mukesh Ambani’s oldest and closest friend) saw his career achieving dizzying heights. Such was her nature, that even those who knew her closely, were hardly aware of her God-given talent in art. “When my mom was a little girl, it became obvious from the medals and awards stacking up on her shelf, that she had a natural talent for art. However, being from an industrious Marwari family, all regard was for academic excellence, while softer skills like art, music and sports were considered hobbies,” says her daughter, Neha Bagaria, who watched, as her mother extended her time and energy to everyone else, while her art was relegated to the back burner.

Fortunately, this imbalance has been redressed. Next month, Jain will be holding her first exhibition at a Mumbai gallery, showcasing approximately 30 of her canvasses of wild life and landscapes. “Ever since I received the confirmation of my dates from the gallery, I have been working round the clock,” says the jubilant artist. For her family, especially her daughter, this late, but welcome fruition of her mother’s talent cannot be more joyous. “Her family couldn’t be happier or more excited for her. Her husband continues to be her rock and force behind her new adventure, her son and daughter-in-law have mobilised all resources, to ensure a successful first solo show,” she wrote recently in a blog. What’s more, this story of artistic talent finally seeing the light of day comes tied with a neat little bow of poetic justice: Jain’s exhibition will coincide with her 60th birthday, a reminder that all good things come to those who wait.

TRUE LIES

For the impact and influence it’s had, Mumbai’s film industry has not been the subject of as many books and films as you’d expect. Of course, Shashi Tharoor’s Show Business and Zoya Akhtar’s Luck By Chance are some of the few that looked at Bollywood’s quirks and idiosyncrasies. Now, a noted screenwriter and film editor, with 22 years of experience in the industry, is threatening to publish his magnum opus. “A cracking book on the film industry is brewing inside me. Where’s that sweet deal?” he posted online, recently, from his writing desk in Goa. What makes this one interesting if it fructifies, is that, its writer has been witness first hand to many seminal changes within the industry and many a professional fracas. Is he worried that he will have no friends (and colleagues) left in the industry if he spills the beans on it? “Certainly not,” was his response. Nice!

MODERN DICTIONARY

Pothole (noun): A tunnel-like crater formation found on many roads in Mumbai, especially in the monsoon, measuring anything between 2 feet to 15 metres to more in length, into which, all manner of people and objects disappear, with alarming frequency, which is currently allegedly being considered by Elon Musk as a launch pad for his SpaceX submarine, since the last one didn’t go too well.

THE ELPHIE LOVE FEST

(LtoR) Sanjay Dutt, Manish Malhotra and Kishori Amonkar.

This week, former students of Elphinstone College, that venerable institution that presides blithely on Hope Street at Kala Ghoda, were surprised/delighted/horrified to find that they had been included as part of a WhatsApp group, formed to organise a grand reunion, the likes of which had never been seen before. Established in 1856, the college had once been celebrated as a prestigious institute of learning, boasting such diverse folk as Dr BR Ambedkar, Kishori Amonkar, Dadabhai Naoroji, Jamsetji Tata, Madhav Apte, Sanjay Dutt (must have been briefly), Manish Malhotra and Salman Khan (er, even briefer) and yours truly, on its student rolls.

Why the need for this reunion, we enquired, of publisher and former journalist Manek Davar, one of the moving spirits behind the enterprise. “Elphinstone has this huge history, being the first centre for higher learning in Western India,” replied our former college mate. “We have had periodical alumni meetings in college, but a few of us thought of a reunion outside college. We had one last year and thought we should meet at least once a year.” What’s more, this is no pipe dream. According to Davar, over 150 alumni have been contacted (hunted down? unearthed?) and as to be expected, they’re largely those, who passed out in the 70s (passed out being an unfortunate term, when you consider that in those days, the college was referred to as ‘Elphin-Stoned’; but we digress). And how would he like to be described for the purposes of this piece, we enquired. “A poor student, but a good, committed alumnus. One who learnt more in the company of friends in the canteen, than in the classroom,” he said.

Make that two, sir.

First Published: Jul 18, 2018 15:35 IST